Political Parties Called for Release of Ethnic Leaders
16 October 2011: In the wake of President Thein Sein’s recent amnesty to free prisoners, the ‘brotherhood of five ethnic parties’ urged for the immediate and ‘unconditional’ release of ethnic leaders as well as political prisoners in Burma.
The five-member alliance of ethnic political parties inside Burma called on President Thein Sein to immediately free those prisoners serving long-term sentences including U Khun Htun Oo and other ethnic leaders, Min Ko Naing and other student leaders as well as political prisoners.
In the joint statement released yesterday, the ‘ethnic brotherhood’ said they welcomed the recent release of prisoners on Wednesday, however they renewed their calls for an amnesty to all political prisoners with no conditions attached.
There are at least 317 ethnic people still remaining in prison, according to last month’s report by AAPP (Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma).
In regard to the ongoing armed conflict in ethnic areas in the country, their statement also demanded the formation of ‘Peace Committee’ comprised of MPs, leaders and intellectuals for holding a ‘peace talk’.
The events surrounding the release of a few political prisoners highlight the disingenuous nature of the regime’s actions and, as a result, there remains a critical barrier to the trust building phase needed for national reconciliation and democratic transition, AAPP’s statement said.
The five ethnic parties include the Chin National Party (CNP), the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), the All Mon Region Democratic Party (AMRDP), the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), and the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP).
Van Biak Thang